The Sewing Place

Lead content in rhinestones

Marniesews

Lead content in rhinestones
« on: May 24, 2017, 19:44:39 PM »
I have to admit that I'm very happy with the brand of budget rhinestones that I've now found after trying a few different types. Their sparkle is really good but I recently wondered about them after seeing some Preciosa packaging with "lead-free". I'm not one for knee-jerk reactions but I do take it seriously so I checked with the supplier who confirmed that they do have lead content although gave no detail of their precise makeup.

From my research they are only an issue if they are digested and much more dangerous for children - hence the problem in the old days when lead containing paint used to be used on baby's cots. It's a timely reminder about never allowing a child to play with a hair ornament, however.

Apparently Swarovski crystals were only reconstituted to reduce their lead levels in 2012 so anyone with a used dress can't be sure how old the crystals are. Lead poisoning is a big issue for children and I understand there is no 'safe level' standard for children. The US Consumer Product Safety rules requires a maximum of 100parts per million for children's products.

I'm confident that it's safe enough to use them on dresses etc as intended but, nevertheless, I'm wary now of allowing my DGD to fix them directly onto her skin with eyelash glue. In ballroom dance competitions, children aren't allowed to wear any bling until the age of 12 although they may do so in shows, of course, and the dance floor is often sprinkled with crystals that have fallen off dresses.

In disco/freestyle comps very young children often wear totally blinged-up costumes so I think it would be helpful if more was known about this but not in a panicked over-reaction as the glue they're using to fix them onto the costumes may well be causing more damage to more people inhaling the fumes than the crystals are likely to do in normal use.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 19:48:16 PM by Marniesews »
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

Catllar

Re: Lead content in rhinestones
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2017, 16:11:02 PM »
That's a valid point - worth looking into if you use the stuff a lot.
If life gives you lemons, add to gin and tonic !


elephun

Re: Lead content in rhinestones
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2017, 17:22:30 PM »
I'm not an expert, by any means.
I have given lead content a little thought as I have made jewelry for quite some time. Being prone to worry, I have always been careful about what jewelry I give to mothers of small kids. There can be both a choking hazard and one of lead leaching into their system if the baby or child put things in their mouths, like many are prone to do. A very sturdy sterling silver chain that the little one cannot break, or a fine silver medallion on a cord were favorites of mine.
I really wouldn't think that wearing a dress with crystals would be a hazard, but I wonder if there is anything more official in writing to ease your mind?
I share your thoughts that the glue, alone or in combination with the crystals, might not be too good for people. Probably worth keeping an eye on.
I live in California in the US, and anything that might contain a carcinogen or cause birth defects has a warning near it in the store. California's consumer labeling law is probably the reason Preciosa has lead free crystal now - this is only speculation on my part, though. 

ETA see below for more information on Proposition 65, the law I referred to above.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 18:45:20 PM by elephun »

elephun

Re: Lead content in rhinestones
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2017, 18:08:13 PM »
Marnie, here is a link to the American Cancer Society explaining Prop 65, and a bit more about lead, specifically:
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/general-info/cancer-warning-labels-based-on-californias-proposition-65.html

ETA: The law itself wouldn't be a concern to you, of course. One of the things I took away from the American Cancer Society article is that because California has strict environmental regulations, and a large economy, so many businesses do know how to answer the kinds of questions you are asking. I like that the article gives an idea of what questions to ask, in terms of how the substance is included in the product and knowing if it can be transferred the way you'll be using it. It's totally overwhelming when put to all of the chemicals and substances on the Prop 65 list, but if you are focused on one or two products and one element, lead, it might be achievable.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 19:01:48 PM by elephun »

Marniesews

Re: Lead content in rhinestones
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2017, 19:50:35 PM »
Thank you, elephun. I did some reading on the subject but, although there are regulations relating to lead in jewelery (and other toxins), the definitions in the UK (not ploughed my way through the US regs) seem to focus on the direct and prolonged contact with skin, so that isn't generally appropriate to crystals on clothing. Of course the risk remains of unintended use such as by toddler siblings of competitors, who might pick up crystals off the floor and pop them in their mouth. Naturally parents always have to be vigilant with toddlers about this sort of thing regarding choking as well as poisoning and I wouldn't want dance organisers banning them.

That said, maintaining a sensible balance regarding safety isn't always that easy. We do seem to be rather bacteria-phobic whilst apparently unaware of the importance for everyone's immune system in having contact with bacteria both good and bad. Ironically our attitude to safety information on products often seems to be that it's based on the worst possible scenario and doesn't need to be taken too literally. This certainly seems to be the attitude to the glue often used for rhinestones (E6000) which is a confirmed carcinogen with very toxic fumes and requires not just a face mask but a ventilated industrial quality mask according to the manufacturer's clearly stated warnings on the packaging.

Nevertheless, many people sit inhaling it for hours hunched over costumes as they stone them using minimal control measures, if any at all. Even a renowned US maker of skating costumes makes videos showing people to use a big blob of E6000 sitting on a piece of paper next to them while using a pin to apply it to rhinestones without any mention of the safety advice spelt out on the tube.

Recently on another group, a US parent mentioned that one of the dance teachers was stoning costumes in the children's practice room which was thick with fumes by the time they arrived. I'm very glad I can use other non-toxic types which do a perfectly good job without the health risk but those who mention the safety element of this glue on some costume making groups are often given short shrift in response.
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

elephun


Iminei

Re: Lead content in rhinestones
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2017, 07:54:02 AM »
As you're talking rhinestones Girls, may I butt in and ask a question ???

I'm thinking of embellishing a wall hanging with pretties, I have the real Gemtac Glue so how do I go about it for maximum grip.

I'm going to have to fold this hanging up and transport it and I would be mortified if when unfolded and hung all the pretties fell off leaving glue marks where they had been!!!  :o

Can you tell I've never embellished a quilt before????
The Imperfect Perfectionist sews again

CarolC

Re: Lead content in rhinestones
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2017, 19:41:50 PM »
Imeni - I think you'll be fine with Gemtac. Use a dot of glue about the size of the back of the stone, and let it squish out the tiniest bit around the edges. It dries clear, so won't show.  When they are dry, run your hand over to see if any are loose, and replace if necessary, but they should last well. I always use Gemtac and my dresses put up with a lot of being stuffed in bags and generally mistreated without the stones coming off. Gemtac is washable, but if you think it will be washed a lot, or get very hard use, E6000 might be better.

Oh and use some sort of picker (bluetac or beeswax on a stick, or something like a Crystal Katana) to transfer stones to the fabric. I put my stones on a saucer, and shake to turn them glass/pointy side up, then use the picker to lift the stones and transfer to the glue dots. This is one useful video, but there are more out there! Looking forward to seeing the results. x
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9Szmof82-A

Iminei

Re: Lead content in rhinestones
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2017, 20:08:58 PM »
Phew!! Thank you for that, I thought I was all alone out there!

Thank you ... I will see how I go

Imi
xxx
The Imperfect Perfectionist sews again

Marniesews

Re: Lead content in rhinestones
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2017, 20:19:34 PM »
The Crystal Katana tool is superb but very expensive unless you do a lot of rhinestoning. The wax alternatives work pretty well too but will leave a smear of wax that dulls the stones so always buff them up with a cloth when they've dried. I got Embellie Gellie for when there's more than one of us working at the same time and that works really well too (if you mould it to a point rather than a round blob) but works out cheaper and lasts far longer than the plastic pick types too.

We use GemTac too as I won't touch E6000 but I've just got some Aleene's Jewel-It glue as it was so highly praised by American costume makers so I'll be trying it out next week. It advises you to leave it for 10 mins before applying stones which will rather drag it out I fear although as I usually only leave the GemTac for 30 seconds or so before applying the stone. If you put them on immediately they can slip and slide while it's still thin and runny.
Aka Jacky F in a former life...